“And put thy trust in God; and enough is God as a disposer of affairs”. (Qur’an; 4 :81)
The word used in Qur’an is “Tawakkal”, which is derived from “Tawakkul”. This is not an excuse for idleness. “Tawakkul means that you should bind the camel with its rope, then say that you have trust in God that He will protect your camel. You should not have confidence in the rope only, because many a camel has been stolen together with its rope; and, likewise, you should not neglect the rope, because binding with the rope is a part of Tawakkul”.
So this is the spirit of Tawakkul. We are to try our best; and then we should have trust in the God that He will make our work succeed.
It is a sheer nonsense to sit idle and say that Allah will do all our work for us. He says in Qur’an: “And that man can have nothing but what he strives for” (Qur’an, 80 : 39).
A high standard of Tawakkul was set when Amir-ul-mumeneen Ali (A.S.) asked some idle persons who they were. “We are those who have confidence in Allah”, came the answer. Ali asked: “How is your confidence in Allah?” They said; “We eat when we get food; and we have patience when we do not get it”. Ali retorted: “Yes! That was the very nature of a dog”. Stunned they asked him to explain the true meaning of Tawakkul in contrast to their own belief. Ali said; “When we get, we give to others; when we do not get, we thank Allah.”
It means that you are to try your best to improve your condition; but you should not trust your own power and wisdom. Have confidence in Allah that he will make your efforts fruitful. Then, if you succeed, try to help your fellow brethren with the fruits of your labor; and if you fail, then also be thankful to Allah.
But why should you thank Allah even when you do not succeed? Because success or failure is not your responsibility. You were expected to do your best – and you did it. Be thankful to Allah that you were able to perform what was expected from you. It is your efforts which matter. Success or failure is not your province.